Reliving WrestleMania: WrestleMania NY/NJ (aka ‘WrestleMania 29’)

Been a long, long while since I’ve written a recap/review of Wrestlemania.
It’s March 31st, 2014. We are six days away from Wrestlemania XXX and this is being written because I had abandoned the blog for a bit to work on personal matters.
But now, I’m working on it again and this is the only one I missed writing about.
So, let’s see:
  • John Cena was still smarting over his loss to The Rock at Wrestlemania 28. That would end up being the big match at this one as Cena would, once again, face The Rock. This time, for the WWE Championship. The Rock had won it from CM Punk at the Royal Rumble due to interference from The Shield who had a penchant for screwing with every face wrestler’s matches. And speaking of that…
  • The Shield would finally find formidable foes in Randy Orton, Sheamus and The Big Show who were just plain tired of The Shield’s antics. They would face off in a six-man tag match.
  • The Undertaker returned to the WWE for his annual appearance and to mourn the (legit) death of Paul Bearer, his former manager. CM Punk interfered and would even steal Bearer’s urn. He would taunt the Undertaker for weeks. Punk wasn’t at all intimidated of scared of The Undertaker and he would try to use that to end Taker’s streak.
  • Brock Lesnar returned and had a beef with Triple H over the termination of Brock’s contract. Brock would challenge Triple H to a match.

That’s about the long and short of it. The rest is pretty much minor, so let’s get to it.

PRE-SHOW: I guess The Miz beat Wade Barrett to become the new WWE Intercontinental Champion which would be impressive except that The Miz was the WWE Champion two years ago and had it all so this is, essentially, like getting diamond earrings from your husband and then, two years later, getting a necklace with your birthstone in it.

The opening video package is narrated by New Jersey governor Chris Christie and shows the devastation left behind by Superstorm Sandy. It’s hard not to be cynical when the overall take-home message is “We triumphed…so Wrestlemania can STILL GO ON!” He even ends with “Welcome to Wrestlemania” which just makes the whole goodwill message collapse into itself.

We are LIVE FROM NEW YORK! IT’S SUNDAY NI–sorry.

And, in case that Hurricane video package didn’t grab you, we get another one showing the wrestlers that survived the Hurricane so that they can beat each other senseless for your viewing pleasure.

And NOW we are LIVE(!!!) from MetLife Stadium in New York!

Cole, JBL and King are your talking dudes. Carlos Cabrera and Marcelo Rodriguez are your Spanish dudes.

MATCH #1: Sheamus, Randy Orton, & Big Show vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns)
Cole tries to convince us that The Shield has “Wrestlemania jitters” which Reigns shows us by going right for Sheamus. They brawl for a bit and Reigns tries a hip toss but Sheamus hits a nice clothesline. Tag to Orton and the two men slam Reigns to the mat. Orton drops the knee and stomps on Reigns. Reigns turns it around, fights back and tags Rollins who flies right into an Orton dropkick. Orton works on punching him in the corner and the crowd is loving that. VINTAGE ORTON bounces Rollins off the ropes for an extra bounce on the suplex and a tag back to Sheamus. Rollins, however, works on the knee and then puts Sheamus in the Corner of Double Team Doom. The Shield stomps as Cole hits the “Numbers Game” button in record time. Tag to Ambrose who strikes at Sheamus like an angry pit bull. Sheamus fights back and hits a power slam for two. Sheamus goes to tag in Orton but Show puts his hand in the way and tags himself in. Show slaps the best of Ambrose as Orton and Sheamus smile like little boys. Ambrose fights back and Ambrose gets belted hard by slaps and then splashed in the corner. He goes for a tackle but Ambrose dropkicks the knee. Tag to Rollins who kicks at Rollins and gets two. Rollins tags Reigns who hits The Punch Not Yet Known as Superman and gets two. Ambrose has torn his shirt off like it’s a meth addict at an NIN concert. He works Show over and then there’s a tag of Rollins who stomps and kicks Big Show. Rollins hits a nice Flying Knee to Show. He works on Show’s arm and tags Reigns, headbutting him and headlocking him. Show counters with a nice belly to belly suplex as Reigns tags Rollins. Rollins kicks Orton and goes after Show who body drops him. Show tags Sheamus and Sheamus beats on Rollins, hitting the Irish Drums. Ambrose tags himself in as Sheamus goes for a powerslam. He attacks Sheamus…and HE gets Irish Drums, too. He slams Ambrose down. Rollins attacks so he puts Rollins in the Rolling Senton ON TOP of Ambrose because, fuck it, Ambrose didn’t need a rib cage anyhow. Sheamus is on a roll. He climbs the ropes but Reigns pulls him off the top and out of the ring. The Shield gangs on him so Orton beats on them but Rollins hits the Suicide Dive as Cole hits “THE NUMBERS GAME” again. Sheamus is rolled back in. The Shield goes for the Triple Powerbomb BUT BIG SHOW COMES IN AND TACKLES AMBROSE. Everyone goes down like bowling pins. Sheamus reaches to tag Show…but Orton tags himself in. He takes out Ambrose as Show stands there, upset. He hits the Orton Slam and Vintage Orton off the ropes. He sets up for the RKO but Rollins flies at him AND ORTON HITS THE RKO ON ROLLINS! Reigns comes in and hits The Spear! Ambrose gets the pin. And Big Show doesn’t do a damn thing about it.
WINNERS: The Shield
GRADE: B+. Not a classic by any means but a good start.

Post-match, The Shield celebrates and walks back into the crowd. Big Show walks back into the ring with Orton. He argues with Orton over the tag. Sheamus gets in the ring. Show knocks out Sheamus with the TKO, then Orton who tries to protest…so he’s a heel after just going face like a month ago?

Anyhow, tonight is Cena vs. Rock in case you had no idea.

Oh, you don’t? Here’s a long video package of it accompanied by an emo Civil Twilight song to remind you that Cena’s Wrestlemania was “ruined” by last year’s loss. How? Here’s what we’re shown:

  • Cena’s life fell apart professionally and personally as the loss caused him to get a divorce from his wife. That’s right. THE LOSS TO THE ROCK CAUSED HIM TO GET DIVORCED.
  • Also: he faced Brock Lesnar and he won. But the video package is assembled to make it look like he lost.
  • But never mind that. He got beat up by CM Punk a bunch of times. So I guess there’s that.
  • But then he went on to the Royal Rumble and he…he won. All because of the Rock–I am really trying to understand how The Rock ruined Cena here.

Also, Snooki’s taking a break from Doing Stuff and she’s at Wrestlemania.

MATCH #2: Mark Henry vs. Ryback
For the record, Battle of the Big matches suck more than Diva matches. I just wanna make that clear. Henry and Ryback face off. Then they run at each other and collide. Oh, so exciting and dramatic. Ryback starts clubbing Henry and clotheslines him but when he tries again, Henry comes back and levels him with a HUGE clothesline of his own, then hits a Running Powerslam. He tries a back drop but Ryback counters with a kick and suplex attempt but it’s a blown spot and Ryback ends up outside the ropes. Henry rams his head into the ringpost. There’s a long period where Henry’s just standing there, waiting for Ryback to get back into the ring and, after a minute, it finally happens. Henry punches Ryback in his spine and then puts on a bear hug that goes on longer than the ring dump spot until Ryback finally breaks free. Henry immediately ends his hopes and runs him into a corner, then clotheslines him out of the ring because a long countout is exactly what this match needed to pick up. Ryback gets in at the count of nine and Henry’s all over him again with headbutts and punches and yet ANOTHER bear hug. Ryback tries to get out of it so Henry just slams him…and goes RIGHT back to the Bear Hug and at this point, I’m wondering if my WWE stream is rebuffering me and showing me the same thing. Ryback FINALLY breaks out and rams Henry in the corner, then hits the Hook Clothesline that knocks Henry down. He calls for his finisher and goes for the Shell Shock and actually manages to get Henry up…but Henry grabs the ropes and falls on Ryback and gets the pin.
WINNER: Mark Henry
GRADE: F. This was all Henry for no reason whatsoever.

Post-match, trainers tend to Ryback. Henry chases them off, then Ryback hits the Spinebuster and Shell Shock on Henry. He cradles his arm and almost looks like he’s gonna cry then celebrates. I don’t get that at all.

King and JBL play with new WWE action figures. King, not even thinking about what he says, declares himself part of a “three-way”.

Ad for the Special Olympics which WWE is a supporter of. We get some of the participants on the entrance ramp and, for some reason, Chris Christie gets a louder pop than the participants.

MATCH #3: Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston (challengers) (w/ AJ Lee) vs. Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) (champions) for the WWE Tag Team Championship
There are clips of the lead-up to this “feud” where Big E hits the Big Ending on Kane. According to JBL, “Nobody has ever manhandled Kane since he’s been in the WWE” apparently forgetting about several of his matches with The Undertaker. Ziggler and Bryan will start with a crowd chanting YES like it’s going out of style. And then we get a tribute to the “18-Second” finish from last year’s Bryan match: Ziggler asks AJ for a kiss so AJ gives him one and then Ziggler gets kicked in the head by Bryan and nearly gets pinned. Bryan dumps him from the ring, dives at him, brings him back in and NO Kicks him to death. Ziggler tags E so Bryan tags Kane. Kane flies at E who catches Kane and then hits several backbreakers and corner spears. Kane tries for a chokeslam but E powers out of it and just runs over him left and right. E tags Ziggler who hits a nice dropkick on Kane. He tags in E and beats on Kane who hits a Side Suplex on E. Kane goes to tag Bryan but E tags Ziggler who takes Bryan out. Kane immediately attacks, managing to hit a Sidewalk Slam for two. He goes off the top rope and Dolph botches a Fame-Asser for two. Bryan makes the save but gets dumped from the ring. Ziggler attempts a top rope move but Kane nails him and gets two as E makes the save with a splash. Kane dumps him out and Bryan makes sure to take him fully out of the picture with a dropkick off the mat. Inside the ring, Ziggler hits the Zigg Zagg and NEARLY gets the win. AJ goes nuts and then grabs Ziggler’s MITB briefcase, sliding it into the ring. She distracts the ref and Ziggler takes a swing but misses and Kane boots him in the face, then dropkicks E who tries to get back in the ring. Tag to Bryan. Headbutt off the ropes and we’re done.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: Team Hell No
GRADE: C+. This was decent but it was a glorified RAW match.

Post-match, Team Hell No celebrates with a nutty crowd.

We get the obligatory Make-a-Wish Foundation plug.

MATCH #4: Fandango vs. Chris Jericho
There’s a dozen women dancing in ballroom dresses to introduce Fandango. He didn’t have Summer Rae yet. The woman escorting him was a brunette named “Andrea Lynn” who, if I’m reading this right, was a college student and real-life dancer. This was before Vince apparently decided that all female wrestling counterparts needed to look like strippers with no brains. Ironically, Summer Rae can’t dance for shit so that matches Fandango’s skill level and it’s even more ironic when you consider that Jericho was actually on Dancing With the Stars. Anyhow, Jericho beats on Fandango to start and he bails. When he comes back in, Jericho’s on him again which culminates in a rope suplex. Jericho has the huge crowd behind him as Fandango gets swishy but Jericho just hits the Codebreaker and Baseball Slide Kick. Then he hits a beautiful body splash off the top ropes to the outside, taking time to pose with fans at ringside. After tossing Fandango back into the ring, Jericho tries for a move off the second turnbuckle but Fandango hits an Enzuguri and nearly gets a fall. He finally mounts an offense, punching away on Jericho, and then poses because we didn’t see enough of that in 10 promos and 4 preview ring spots in the lead up. Fandando tries to keep up the offense before Jericho gets some shoulderblocks and a nice Enzuguri for two. Jericho goes on the top rope and hits a nice cross body for two. Jericho charges Fandango but Fandango side steps and Jericho goes flying into the ringpost. Fandango hits Sister Abiga–uh, I mean, some spinning DDT thing and then a HUGE Flying Legdrop and NEARLY gets the pin. He argues the pin and nearly gets rolled up for a pin. Jericho tries the Walls but Fandango gets out and hits a clothesline as this match FINALLY takes off. Fandango tries for a top rope move but Jericho grabs the ropes and Fandango falls to the mat. Jericho puts him back up top and goes for the Superplex but Fandango fights out of it and then misses the Flying Legdrop. Jericho misses a Lionsault by five feet then tries for the Walls but Fandango reverses into a small package pin for the win!
WINNER: Fandango via Small Package
GRADE: B-. Great work by both guys but this should have been longer and the ending was botched beyond belief.

  • Chris Jericho left shortly after this and announced that he was only going to make sporadic appearances from here on out as he wanted to continue his musical career with his band, “Fozzy”.

Post-match, Jericho cannot believe he lost while Fandango, breathless, celebrates.

We get a look at Miz’s IC Title win over Wade Barrett from the Pre-Show.

A plug where we meet all of the Rock’s “millions” of fans. And I do mean millions since the segment goes on for about four minutes and shows about 350 people doing random Rock shit.

Oh, good. P Diddy is here to perform which kills another 5 minutes.

A racist lead-up promo for Jack Swagger vs. Del Rio complete with a shot of Del Rio looking at the view of New York City from the top of the Empire State Building. He’s also holding the belt while doing it and I cannot imagine how he got through security with that.

After 15 fucking minutes, we finally get another match.

MATCH #5: Jack Swagger (challenger) (w/ Zeb Colter) vs. Alberto Del Rio (champion) (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) for the Heavyweight Championship
Colter’s in the ring spewing racist shit about people who speak Spanish and “Eye-talian” and “something called Yiddish” and about a dozen others plus people are illegal and blah blah blah. What else do they “speak”, Zeb? Can you list 71 more languages so we can push this show out a little longer? I don’t think you mentioned any of the languages from Star Trek, Star Wars or Game of Thrones. Out comes Del Rio dressed like a Mexican boxer with Ricardo on crutches which probably isn’t going to end well. It’s hard to be excited about Del Rio. Dude was so mean for so long that it killed any heat he had as a face and he went right back to being a heel after he lost the title. Swagger is booted from the ring early and Del Rio nails him with a drop kick and tosses him back into the ring. He goes to a second rope but Zeb distracts Del Rio and Swagger trips him and down goes Del Rio. Swagger hits a mean clothesline for two. Del Rio comes back by dragging Swagger to the mat for a two count but Swagger gets up and boots him in the head. He hits a Swagger Bomb for two and then tries to wrap Del Rio’s knee around the ringpost but Del Rio retaliates with a kick. Del Rio starts hitting clotheslines and a Spinning Backbreaker. Then Del Rio kicks at Zeb and hits the Mini Superkick That Never Works for two and the crowd can’t even muster up the energy to boo or cheer. Swagger starts coming back with a Spear and then locks in the Patriot Lock but Del Rio kicks out and misses an Enzuguri but manages to hit a Backstabber. Yay. Two count. Swagger manages to come back with a Powerbomb and another Patriot Lock and Del Rio counters with a Cross Arm Breaker but Swagger counters with the Patriot Lock again and the crowd boos as this match just continues. Del Rio breaks out by getting to the ropes, hits an Enzuguri and only gets two because Zeb interferes. Rodriguez goes to check things out and Zeb tries to trip his crutches. So Del Rio grabs a crutch and wields it like a fucking Broad Sword but Swagger makes the save and this shitty match drags on. Swagger throws him into the crowd barrier and nearly gets counted out harassing Rodriguez, then taps out to the Cross Arm Breaker and thank the fuck christ that’s over.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Del Rio via Cross Arm Breaker
GRADE: D+. Wow, that was possibly the worst major title match I’ve seen at Wrestlema–oh, wait. I forgot about the Hogan era. Nevermind. It’s one of the worst.

  • Rodriguez is now part of the Spanish Announce Team.

Del Rio celebrates as Michael Strahan cheers with the audience at ringside.

A plug for the U.S. National Guard. They’re at ringside and there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

We get the lead-up to Undertaker-CM Punk.

MATCH #6: CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker
Living Colour plays CM Punks entrance theme live and they aren’t horrible for a band that plays only every so often. Punk all over the ring, taunting Taker early on. He even slaps him and it’s clear that he is NOT afraid of Taker in the slightest. Punk maneuvers and reverses everything Taker tosses his way until Taker FINALLY boots Punk in the face and sends him outside. Crowd is HUGE into this as Taker just outright destroys Punk, tossing him into the crowd barrier. He smacks Punk’s head on the Spanish Announce Table, then runs him into the ring post. Taker goes for the Guillotine Leg Drop off the mat as the crowd starts with an “Undertaker/CM Punk” chant war. Taker goes for Old School but Punk counters with an arm drag and then jumps up, kicking Taker and stomping him in the corner and then does Old School which I don’t get because Taker looks like he could have pulled Punk off the ropes, too, but whatever. He hits the Russian Legsweep and gets two as Heyman starts yelling something about how the next pin will be the one to end the Streak because “Punk already has two”. Taker tries to mount a comeback but ends up outside the ring after missing a corner splash. Punk goes off the rope, hitting the Savage Double Axehandle. He puts Taker in a neckbreaker and gets two, then starts working on the arm. Taker comes back with some mean punches to the head but misses one and gets hit with a Swinging Neckbreaker for two. Punk puts Taker in a headlock but Taker counters with a suplex. Taker tries a corner attack and Punk knees him in the face and then tries Old School but then falls, hitting his balls on the top rope. Taker knocks him off the mat and then tries a Suicide Dive but Heyman gets on the mat to interfere. Taker grabs him for a Chokeslam and Punk knocks him down and gets a close fall. Punk hits the Savage Elbow off the top rope and gets a near fall. He calls for the GTS but Taker hits the Chokeslam From Hell and NEARLY gets the pin. The two men punch back and forth with Taker getting the upper hand and FINALLY hitting the clothesline in the corner. He hits Snake Eyes but Punk comes back with a high roundhouse and covers for near fall. The crowd is rabid and 50/50 a’la Hogan/Warrior. Punk clotheslines him outside and starts taking the Spanish Table apart  Taker gets up and goes for the Last Ride but Punk counters, jumping off of Taker’s shoulders and hits a huge roundhouse. Taker’s on the table and Punk tries for the Savage Elbow and hits it (and the table doesn’t break after all of that set-up). But he’s hurt and Taker’s out. Punk manages to get back into  The ref counts and he’s at 8…9 and JUST makes it back in. Punk is not happy. He crawls to Taker and Taker hits Hell’s Gate. Punk counters with a roll-up and locks in the Anaconda Vice! Heyman screams at Taker to tap out but Taker SITS UP IN THE HOLD AND HE’S PISSED. He grabs Punk for the Chokeslam but Punk counters and botches GTS nicely covered by Taker hitting a Tombstone and it’s 1…2…KICKOUT. The two men trade blows as the crowd is firmly behind both of them. Taker goes for a body drop but Punk hits a knee. Taker’s not happy and grabs his throat. Punk struggles and knocks out the ref in the process. Taker goes for the Last Ride near the corner but Heyman hands Punk the urn and Punk decks him over the head and down goes Taker! The ref awakens…1…2…NO. Punk gets up and calls for the GTS but the Undertaker fights out and hits the Tombstone…but Punk counters with the GTS again…but Taker gets back into the Tombstone and we’re done.
WINNER: The Undertaker via Tombstone
GRADE: Solid B. This was good, not great. Punk carried the match for the most part as the Undertaker is obviously so old and beat up. That’s not as bad as it sounds and it got better as it went but this was FAR from the “classic” level achieved by the last four Taker matches. They left you exhausted as fuck. This one was missing that emotion as Punk lacked seriousness and was just in it to mock ‘Taker the entire time. That’s not an opponent. That’s like a mosquito you constantly have buzzing in your face that you finally squash after slapping at it 27 times. Anyhow, the Undertaker is 21-0 heading into Wrestlemania XXX.

  • CM Punk wrestled for the rest of the year, feuding with Heyman disciples Ryback, Curtis Axel and Brock Lesnar. When this feud ended, Punk left the WWE in January. Rumors have circulated as to why and have ranged from frustration with no longer being a top performer to outright exhaustion. He is said to be dating Diva AJ Lee. 

Post-match, The Undertaker celebrates, retrieving the urn and walking back up the ramp, raising his fist in front of the 21-0 video screen before leaving.

We get a promo for Mick Foley’s “For All Mankind” documentary.

And, yet, ANOTHER Cena promo because The Rock got his own so why not?

MATCH #7: Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Triple H (w/ Shawn Michaels) in a No Holds Barred Career Match (Triple H retires if he loses)
It wouldn’t be Wrestlemania without the requisite Triple H match so let’s do this. I’ll ask a very obvious question following this match. The two brawl to start but Brock starts using the knee to the gut and the action spills outside and it’s Lesnar into the crowd barrier. Triple H slams Lesnar’s head into the announce table but Lesnar retaliates by ramming Triple H’s spine into the ring mat and puts him into the Timekeeper’s Pit. He grabs a chair but Triple H flies out, clotheslining him. The brawl goes back into the ring as Lesnar brings the Don’t Worry It’s Legal in This Match Chair Because Stone COLE Says So into the ring. HHH hits a kneelift and the chair falls to the mat. HHH goes for the chair and Heyman grabs it and won’t let HHH have it. So, the action goes outside the ring again as the crowd falls asleep. Brock breaks The Unbreakable Table of Stubborness by hitting an AA on HHH and then tosses him into the steel steps. He howls loudly which is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. In fact, he does it repeatedly. He tosses HHH into the remains of the table and then drags him into the ring before running after Shawn Michaels. He poses for the crowd. HHH hits his Kneelift but Lesnar counters with a huge clothesline and gets two as Heyman screams at HHH to retire. HHH tries another comeback but Lesnar hits belly to belly #3 on the night. Brock hits a German Suplex and another and another. Two count and one count after that. Just kill me now. Tiple H kicks at Lesnar and tries for a corner toss but Lesnar dumps him outside. Shawn Michaels stalks him and distracts Lesnar long enough for HHH to get a clothesline into the Timekeeper’s Pit. Lesnar tries for a chair but HHH gets to it and whacks Lesnar in the back. The action goes back to the ring and, what do you know: another German Suplex. Heyman climbs the mat, screaming at Brock to clobber Michaels who is also on the mat. So Brock obliges and HHH hits a Spinebuster. He tries a Pedigree but Lesnar counters with the F5. Michaels comes in and tries Sweet Chin Music (WHY DIDN’T HE TRY THIS EARLIER?!) and Lesnar catches it and grabs him for the F5. Triple H hits a Pedigree and gets a near fall. He goes for the sledge outside but Lesnar hits the F5 and NEARLY gets the pin. The action goes outside and Lesnar’s got the chair, whacking HHH with it. He tosses HHH into the ring steps, then picks them up and uses them to clock HHH in the head. The steps go into the ring and Lesnar puts the thumb across the throat. He picks up the steps and clocks HHH with them, getting two. Lesnar screams at HHH to retire so HHH slaps him and FINALLY fights back, going for a Pedigree but Lesnar hits the Kimura Lock which HHH breaks over and over but is apparently not smart enough to run the other direction after this. HHH finally counters with a Spinebuster as the crowd goes ZZZZZZ. HHH hits a low blow which Cole reminds us is COMPLETELY LEGAL in case his 10 other declarations didn’t clue you in. HHH goes outside with a chair after wrapping Lesnar’s arm around the post and whacks Lesnar’s arm with it which is deeply satisfying, considering the Kimura is obnoxious as fuck. HHH hits the Kimura on Lesnar as Heyman loses his shit and grabs a chair. He goes to whack HHH but Michaels hits Sweet Chin Music on Heyman and THAT gets the loudest pop of the match and it’s warranted because Heyman’s fucking annoying. Lesnar won’t tap and stands up, carrying HHH and dropping him on the steel steps. He doesn’t move, however, and HHH locks in the Kimura again. Lesnar breaks it again and then just lays there like a moron and HHH locks it in again. Lesnar breaks it AGAIN but, apparently, HHH managed to DDT Lesnar. HHH gets the sledge and knocks Lesnar down but not out as Lesnar apparently has the power to withstand a blow to the head with a hammer. HHH hits the Pedigree on the steel steps and we’re done.
WINNER: Triple H via Pedigree.
GRADE: C-. WOW, that was long. Really long. Ok. I alluded to it earlier but WHY didn’t Michaels and HHH team up on Lesnar all match? It was no-DQ. Were we supposed to forget that portion of the booking?

Hall of Fame time. Your inductees this year:

  • Mick Foley
  • Trish Stratus
  • Bob Backlund
  • Booker T
  • Donald Trump
  • Bruno Sammartino

And they all come out to say hello to the crowd.

And, of course, we get the WWE-dick-showing, record-setting attendance of 80,676. The crowd does the lukewarm applause thing.

Lead-up for Cena/Rock.

MATCH #8: John Cena (challenger) vs. The Rock (champion) for the WWE Championship
This crowd has a massive hate-on for Cena and they love The Rock (for the most part). At least they’re awake at this point. It’s a shoulderblock trade to start. Then it’s run-around-the-ring time before Cena gets hip tossed by The Rock. He retreats and Cena looks all flustered and concerned. The match goes nowhere as the two guys just stare once Cena gets back in the ring. Finally, Cena mounts an offense but Rock shoulderblocks him and then starts punching hard in the corner following up with elbows outside. Cena gets a clothesline and it’s Hogan Headlock time as Rock gets to his feet but Cena just gets him to the mat again as JBL somehow proclaims that The Rock is “in his prime just like Cena”. Cena hits a knee and then slams Rock to the mat and it’s another match-killing headlock. Rock breaks free and then hits the Sleeper on Cena as the crowd goes, “Oh, ok.” Cena hits the Cena Slam as Cole declares that Separation Has Been Created. After a two count, Cena goes a-stompin’ then misses an Elbow and Rock counters with a Samoan Drop. Cena and Rock trade blows and Cena hits a quick suplex and gets two. Cena tries his Flying Tackles but misses the second one. Rock lays the Smackdown but Cena comes right back with more tackles. Rock no-sells the second one and locks in the Sharpshooter but Cena manages to turn it back and kick out. Cena hits another Cena Drop and goes for the 5KS but misses and Rock hits an immediate DDT, setting up for a Spinebuster. He waits like a minute and a half before Cena snaps in an STF. Rock counters with a pin and gets two. Cena counters with a Slingshot and then hits ANOTHER Cena Drop and the 5KS. He goes for the AA but Rock hits a weak Spinebuster and FINALLY the crowd starts chirping. Rock takes too long, however, and Cena puts him in the STF and it’s time to settle in for about 700 finishers before this one is done. Rock turns it over and breaks Cena’s grip as Cena looks at his hands in disbelief like a betrayed Ultimate Warrior. Rock hits a Spinebuster and it’s a close two-count. Cena gets up and hits an AA out of nowhere and another two-count as the crowd goes to sleep again. Cena goes outside the ring and climbs the ropes but misses the Legdrop, gets caught in ANOTHER Rock Spinebuster, and then gets hit with the People’s Elbow and Rock gets a near fall. Cena rolls out of the ring so the Rock goes out to chase him and rolls him back in. The two do a punch trade spot AGAIN as Rock flies at Cena but Cena catches him and goes for the AA. But Rock hits the Rock Bottom and gets two. Rock moves into the corner and just stands there as time just goes ticking by. Rock stands over a motionless Cena and then does “U CAN’T SEE ME”. He goes for the People’s Elbow but on the second run, Cena jumps up and hits the AA, getting two. Cena stands up, same as Rock and, guess what? THE TWO TRADE PUNCHES AGAIN. Cena rolls up Rock and gets two. Rock goes for a Spinebuster but Cena reverses and hits a Spinebuster for two. Cena stands up and then looks at his 5KS hand, then smiles. Then he sets up for a People’s Elbow but the Rock gets up and goes for a Rock Bottom…but THIS time, Cena stops himself, does, “U CAN’T SEE ME”, then goes for the AA and takes years even though Rock is struggling like an insolent toddler on a sugar rush. Rock gets out and hits ANOTHER Spinebuster but that gets two. Cena goes for the AA again, then they exchange AA and Spinebuster set-ups for like 2 minutes until Rock finally manages to nail the Spinebuster. Rock waits for Cena to get up and he finally does and Rock tries for the Rock Bottom but Cena his AA #73 for the win.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: John Cena via AA.
GRADE: C+. Fucking boring. Cena is SO one-dimensional and there was no improvisation. 173 finisher attempts is not my idea of a match. 

Post-match, Cena is given the belt and looks “emotionally vindicated”. Rock and Cena look at one another. The Rock approaches Cena who appears to be thanking The Rock. The Rock replies and the two shake hands and hug. Cena points to the Rock, acknowledging how great he is and leaves the ring as Rock stands there, looking pitiful and UNvindicated as this whole thing just rolls and rolls and rolls and rolls. Rock continues to stand there and look constipated until he thanks the audience. He goes outside the ring and says hello to his family at ringside and then heads back down the aisle where he salutes John Cena and the crowd boos the shit out of that.

  • The Rock is, of course, a huge Hollywood star now and one of the most successful action stars. Time will tell if he comes back to the WWE but he hasn’t wrestled since this match.

The show finally ends.

OVERALL: C+. The show started well, hit a groove with the Fandango match and barely managed to peak with the Undertaker match. The two other big matches were disappointments as they were either unnecessary or been-there-done-that.

Guess what? I’m done with “Reliving Wrestlemania”!

We will see you at Wrestlemania XXX!

— Matt

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